One of the more unusual press releases: "From Batman to Gandhi: Three Events at the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Arts (MoCCA)" - including a discussion about "comics from super heroes to the nonviolent." Full press release below.
From Batman to Gandhi: Three Events at the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Arts (MoCCA) MLK Week
Press Release Contact: Karl Erickson or Ellen Abramowitz firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
From Batman to Gandhi: Comics from Super Heroes to the Nonviolent
Three Events at the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art, Manhattan--MLK Week:
Jan. 19th, 2-:30pm, Workshop-Urban Empathy: Living with Compassion in the Big Apple
Jan. 22nd 7pm, Moderated Discussion & Launch of Urban Empathy
Jan. 24th 1-3pm, Workshop-Making Comics in Adobe Flash
No other city can boast as many super heroes as New York---Superman, Batman, and Spiderman all play out their larger-than-life adventures in the Big Apple. Yet what happens when the action figure genre is applied to a different kind of risk and adventure---every day interactions between New Yorkers? And rather than using physical force or finesse---like Superman and Spiderman---it's communication skills to the rescue?
Millions of Indian children, in India and abroad, are familiar with the tales of the Panchatantra. These ancient stories are a kind of desi Aesop's fables. Often starring tigers, jackals, elephants and other animals these stories had morals such as: "Wit is superior to brute force" or "Don't listen to the advice of your natural enemy" or "Too much of greed is harmful" (see online versions of these stories, with almost uniformly poor production values, here and here).
One way in which these stories became popular in recent decades is through comic books such at the Amar Chitra Katha series (a comic imprint with hundreds of titles and easily available online at ACK-media.com). Here, for example is the cover of "How the Jackal Ate the Elephant and other stories." In a fit of nostalgia, just before my kids were about to be born, I bought about two dozen titles online, including some of the Panchatantra and Jataka tales editions, and as they have grown older, the kids have loved having the comics read to them.
But why should my kids read the same comics I grew up reading? It turns out that Virgin Comics, the Deepak Chopra/Shekhar Kapur/Gotham Chopra/Sharad Devarajan venture that is updating various comics and creating new ones ("Sadhu" is being made into a Nicholas Cage movie), has sets its sights on the Panchatantra.
This new version, called "Panchatantra: The Tall Tales of Vishnu Sharma" is certainly not my kids' father's Panchatantra. Done in the style and sensibility of high-end graphic novel (see examples below and at this link), the result is a rich, deep fascinating story that can keep the attention of today's teens.
From the press release - note they call it a "magazine":
“With Panchatantra The Tall Tales of Vishnu Sharma, we continue our
mission of looking to India as a source of innovative creativity with a
vault of stories that should be brought to the world,” commented Sharad
Devarajan, CEO & Co-Founder of Virgin Comics and Virgin Animation.
“The young Indian creators behind this series stand at the forefront of
redefining a new golden age in Indian storytelling and shifting the
country from being an outsourcer to being the source.”
In Virgin’s new monthly magazine, a nefarious multinational
conglomerate is deliberately silencing the mythologies of yesterday. In
an effort to stop the erasing of old fables, the characters from the
Panchatantra myths emerge from their story-world into modern India to
recruit the living descendent of the man who originally created them, a
teenage Mumbai native, named Vishnu Sharma. In young Vishnu, they find
a teenager consumed with ipods, cell phones, video games and modern
entertainment – not exactly the champion of ancient stories they were
hoping for. <snip> The comic book series is being written by leading Indian fantasy and
comic book writer, Samit Basu ("Devi," "The Gameworld Trilogy") and
illustrated by rising comic book star, Ashish Padlekar ("Dave Stewart’s Walk-In").
[An aside: I took a copy of the comic, er, magazine, with me to a SAJA event this week and passed it around for the journalists to see. Someone really liked it, because it didn't get my copy back and didn't get to finish it!]
See the full press release below and post your comments.
Journalists interested in review copies on in setting up interviews with the creators should contact PRESS Michelle Gomes, press[at]virgincomics.com
A cartoon from Bruce Tinsley's"Mallard Fillmore" comic strip (Jan. 14, 2008, distributed by King Features to hundreds of newspapers around the country). For those of you who don't follow the strip, Fillmore is a conservative journalist who happens to be a duck. Post your comments below.
When I first saw this in print this morning in the New York Post, it was in black-n-white and I missed the lettering in the tiger's stripes. Meanwhile, I am sure that Ramirez hadn't noted the South Asian connection to the tiger story. It isn't a Bengal tiger, but those brothers, it turns out, are desi.
Some Musharraf-related humor in major U.S. media... First, a cartoon by Pulitzer-winning cartoonist Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (published on Nov. 21 and reprinted in the New York Timeson Nov. 25).
Yes, the emergency in Pakistan is serious, tragic business, but even through the worst disasters in South Asia (assassinations, cyclones, and more), locals have managed to find dark humor on occasion. Post your comments below.
Pulitzer Prize-winner Tom Toles is the popular editorial cartoonist of the Washington Post. Here's his Nov. 13, 2007, take on the controversy surrounding Natwar Gandhi, the chief financial officer of Washington, D.C. (read the SAJAforum coverage). In addition to commenting on Gandhi's troubles, it's a play on all the statutes of Mahatma Gandhi (the one in D.C. is below) Post your comments below.
The Mahatma Gandhi in Washington, D.C., opposite the Indian Embassy: